It’s so much more convenient to grab that cup of coffee or a packet of chips on an empty stomach, while attending to ‘more important things of the day.’ However, the quality of food going into our system takes a back-seat, because who wants to make these decisions first thing in the morning, right? Taking the easy way out just leads to ill-effects on the body that end up staying for the long run.
If you think reaching out for a glass of orange juice is a good idea in the morning – pause, observe and think again.
Here are some foods that are harmful for the body if consumed on an empty stomach.
1) Citrus Fruits – When it comes to fruits, it’s of utmost importance to consume them at the right time and in the right quantity. The acids present in citrus fruits over time can provide an unnecessary boost to acid production in your gut. This may result in stomach issues such as gastric ulcers or even gastritis. Heartburn is also a possible reaction to eating citrus fruits on an empty stomach, along with a slower metabolism thanks to the high level of fructose present in fruits. Guavas and oranges are fruits you need to especially stay clear of due to their high citric acid content.
2) Yoghurt – We’ve got a wonderful powerhouse of good bacteria present in our stomachs at all times that help to break down the food we ingest and transport its nutrients to the rest of the body. Yoghurt contains a high amount of lactic acid that promotes the strengthening of our bones and helps good bacteria to grow. An empty stomach already has high levels of stomach acid present in it, and consuming yoghurt at a time like this can lead to the lactic acid from the yoghurt to be completely ineffective or even leading to an unpleasant acid reflux.
3) Coffee – Your morning cup o’ Joe may be waking you up, but to your body, it’s doing more harm than good. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach leads to higher levels of acidity in the body. You may also experience indigestion and heartburn through the day thanks to this delicious beverage, so it’s best to eat something before drinking your coffee as you wake up.
4) Spices – Spicy foods first thing in the morning cause an increase in the production of acid in the stomach, which may result in digestive problems in the future. Thanks to the presence of capsaicin, the acid that makes chillies spicy, consuming spicy dishes as the first meal you have in the day may not be a good idea!
5) Bananas – Just because it’s a fruit, doesn’t mean you can eat it first thing in the morning! Eating bananas on an empty stomach increases the amount of magnesium in the blood, which is not good news for your heart. Bananas are also high in natural sugar, being that 25% of an average banana is sugar, giving you an initial energy boost that only ends up draining you in the later hours. The same sugar fills you up temporarily but leaves you empty-stomached soon after. Also, owing the acidic nature of the yellow fruit, it’s possible that one may encounter bowel issues if one makes this a habit.
So, what do you eat instead?
Here are a few best superfoods you can eat empty stomach:
1) Oatmeal or Muesli – The soluble fiber in the oatmeal helps lower the cholesterol levels of the body. It also provides a protective lining in the stomach in the mornings from the produced hydrochloric acid. A single cup of cooked oatmeal has about 150 calories, up to 4 grams of fiber and a hefty 6 grams of protein. Safe to say, oatmeal makes for a great first meal to start off your day on a healthy note.
2) Honey – The release of serotonin or the ‘feel good’ hormone with the consumption of honey helps energize you for your day and boosts your brain activity. Honey is also excellent at wiping your digestive system clean of any unhealthy bacteria and keeping it squeaky clean. The antioxidants present in this sweet delight also help flush out toxins from your body, paving the way to a fresh and clear skin!
3) Eggs – The high amounts of protein and good fats in eggs help you maintain your energy levels through the day. They also keep you fuller for longer, thus boosting your longevity. Egg whites are great for those looking to lose weight, since it low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals and protein. Consuming boiled eggs as your first meal is ideal if you have a long day ahead.
4) Poha – Everyone’s favourite breakfast snack is a great option to have as the first meal in the morning. Poha, or flattened rice, is low in calories yet high in carbs, which keep you going for longer through the day. Get ready to have a sustainable boost of energy with this delicious meal, along with a healthy supply of minerals such as iron and vitamins. And what’s more, it’s gluten-free!
5) Watermelon – This fruit’s high amount of lycopene helps the body regain its nutrients in the morning. It also supplies the body with sufficient amount of fluid and is great for the heart and the eyes. High in vitamins C & A, watermelons contain only roughly 50 calories per cup. Its high iron content is also perfect for anemics, helping the regain their haemoglobin health if consumed regularly. Other than vitamins, watermelons also contain potassium and magnesium, and has proven to be a great help for your heart.
6) Nuts – Dry fruits such as pistachios, almonds, dried figs & apricots, cashews, walnuts and raisins are believed to be superfoods, with high antioxidant and vitamin-rich properties. Almonds help boost our memory, skin and hair with Vitamin E and walnuts help the brain develop and function more efficiently. Apricots and dried figs are great for skin, stomach and immunity, and pistachios contain important phytonutrients to help your body combat disease.
7) Apples – Rich in the dietary fiber pectin, apples work excellently for improving bowel movement. Pectin can be found in the peel of the fruit, and also helps to boost the production of lactic acid that helps keep the colon and the digestive tract clean & healthy. The best time to eat apples is in the morning, so as to ensure ideal bowel cleaning and reap the benefits of the fruit as well. The benefits of eating apples are many, but eating apples on an empty stomach is the perfect way to help your body get the best of all it has to offer.
8) Dates – Dates contain vitamins C & D that work to improve skin’s brightness, elasticity and increase cell turnover. Benefits of eating dates on an empty stomach can also be extended to having healthy hair, as its iron-rich qualities help to strengthen the hair while improving blood circulation to the scalp. The best time to eat dates is anytime through the day and ideally on an empty stomach.